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Discussion Starter #1
I've had my car since March and I've put about 6k mi on it. Totally a commuter car, 55 mi/day in NE GA- some hills, some flats, 65 mph most of the trip. There's a thread I started when I got the car that has most of the details: http://www.insightcentral.net/forums/honda-insight-forum-1st-gen-discussion/86801-so-should-i-buy.html

Anyway, when I first got it, in cool spring weather, if I really worked it I could get ~ 50 mpg max, but at the end of the day it was just too much damn work and too distracting, plus it's hot as hell in Georgia in the summer and Econ AC just doesn't cut it in 98 F weather, esp. in town.

I just want to get in a car and drive, not constantly monitor my mileage, LCD, SOC, etc..., which is what I had to do to get 50 mpg. So I decided I'd just drive it like a damn car and see what happened.

In almost every tank I get 42-43 mpg, which I think pretty much sucks given what other people on here claim to get and which is well below EPA ratings. LMPG on the car is 39.9. I haven't balanced the battery, yet, and it does frequently cycle from 19 bars down to 1 bar, and very rapidly sometimes. Other than that, the battery (3rd for this car) seems okay... at least no IMA light!

So now I'm trying to decide what to do with the car. Maybe spend money on a grid charger and see if rebalancing gives me an extra 10-20 mpg... I'm skeptical. Or, just resign myself to the fact that maybe I have a lemon that will never get claimed mileage and sell the little car (other Insight owners in my area (3) ALL get much better mileage and have much higher LMPGs).

It's an awfully small car to only get 42 mpg, since I can get any number of 4-dr hybrid and non-hybrid cars that would likely get that kind of mileage. When I bought it, I figured the negative aspects- small, noisy, rough ride, crappy radio, etc... would be far offset by superior full economy, but unfortunately I'm just not seeing that.

What to do, what to do? :(
 

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Your posts title is a bit cryptic, but I'm thinking you are asking about how to improve the (relatively) low MPG of your car vs. asking for advice on whether to get rid of it because it's not worth the sacrifices?

A few of the major unknowns: (admittedly, I didn't go researching your old thread).
- What kind of tires are on the car?
- Tire pressure?
- Is it a 5 speed or CVT?
- How many miles are on the car?

An OBD2C&C would display any background charges going on that may be sapping energy without it being displayed on the dash.

[Moved thread to MPG Issues section]
 

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I assume that you have been running the A/C during the Georgia summer. The A/C is a real mileage killer. Tell us about your driving cycle, your commute, the number of cold starts each day, in addition to questions that freezin4 ask.

As Keith mentioned, having charge virtually constantly is a real killer. Do you get a lot of 4 bar mandatory charge?

It is possible, but not likely, that you have a low compression cylinder, which would cause the engine to be inefficient. If you can come up with a compression gauge, then check the compression, on the 12V starter with IMA battery turned off. It should be around 200 lbs. It is a two person operation, since the throttle must be held fully open during the test.
 

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I just read the history of the car in permalink #48 of the old thread that you referenced. I've never seen so many IMA batteries installed in such a short period. Something just isn't right here, but not sure at moment how to put a finger on it. I think that a good start might be to do the IMA battery bypass and then try some new testing. There is a link somewhere around here with instructions for bypass. I'll see if I can find them.

The lack of IMA will have little impact on mpg on the highway, so that would be a good way to test.
 

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I would check to see if the brakes are dragging. A friend of mine kept having hybrid battery draining issues and got terrible mileage. One of his front calipers was dragging. He hasn't had any problems since. Anyways it's an easy fix and worth a look.
 

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I live just over the border from you in TN... I've averaged 73 mph over the last 1300 miles. Here are my recommendations (considering you don't want to watch over your mileage):
-install a Calpod switch and leave it on most of the time; the recals are causing your IMA battery to sink valuable HP into the IMA battery; if the IMA battery is shot, then it does a poor job converting electrical energy into chemical energy (i.e. it's inefficient).
-don't use your AC... I don't unless my wife is in the car.
-Inflate tires properly and use RE92 tires only
-Drive slower.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Thanks for the feedback, Here are answers to most of the questions:

Your posts title is a bit cryptic, but I'm thinking you are asking about how to improve the (relatively) low MPG of your car vs. asking for advice on whether to get rid of it because it's not worth the sacrifices?
- What kind of tires are on the car?
- Tire pressure?
- Is it a 5 speed or CVT?
- How many miles are on the car?

Both, actually. Would like to get much better mileage and, if not able to do that, I would be ready to sell it.

Bridgestone Insignia SE 200s P175/65-14
80 psi, I think
5 spd
43k

I assume that you have been running the A/C during the Georgia summer.

Absolutely, all the time, but it's kind of a crappy AC compared to my other cars, so when it's > 95F I don't drive it.

Do you get a lot of 4 bar mandatory charge?

Not sure what that is, but I will be driving to work or home, 25 mi one-way trip, and it will often cycle over the full range, in my case high = 19 low = 1, usually at least every other day.

I've never seen so many IMA batteries installed in such a short period.

The gentleman I got the car from drove only city driving sn the car sat alot, hence the low mileage. There is a note from the dealer (always service there) after last battery replacement that says, in effect, "This car is not being driven enough to keep the batteries charged and we won't warranty the battery pack."

I would check to see if the brakes are dragging.

No sounds or evidence of dragging, but I'll check (I turn my own wrenches).

...might be to do the IMA battery bypass and then try some new testing.There is a link somewhere around here with instructions for bypass. I'll see if I can find them.


Please do. I'd like to check it out

-install a Calpod switch and leave it on most of the time; the recals are causing your IMA battery to sink valuable HP into the IMA battery; if the IMA battery is shot, then it does a poor job converting electrical energy into chemical energy (i.e. it's inefficient).

Probably not shot, since it's so new, but I'm sure it needs recalibration.

-don't use your AC... I don't unless my wife is in the car.

Not an option. I refuse to sweat while I drive a car... unless I'm driving the 'Cuda! :grin:

-Inflate tires properly and use RE92 tires only
Not RE92's. Tires are for a 2nd Gen Insight, I think. Slightly wider and better ride. Some on here say tires impact mileage by ~ 10%. If true, that puts me at 46 mpg, which is still too low.

-Drive slower.

I can't. I really don't consider 65 mph on my commute driving fast. My GS300 Lexus has an EPA rating of 18 city 27 highway and I average about 21 mpg when I drive it, just like I want to be able drive the Insight, i.e. just drive it, no special attention, monitoring, turn off AC etc... this is what irks me: My Insight is so far off the EPA ratings it's a joke and so many with these cars report much better mileage and, especially, better LMPGs. This car was almost exclusively city driven by an old guy and his wife for 15 years and it had only 37 LMPG when I bought it. Up to 39 now.
 

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Ok, from you most recent post I see several improvements you can make. First, I understand about the A/C, grew up in deep south myself, but it really is a very big mpg hit on an Insight. Try setting your mpg goals in the spring and fall, with just dash ventilation, and I think you will see 8-10mpg improvement there.

Second, no tire performs on an Insight like the Bridgestone RE-92. All the comparisons you are making are to cars on RE-92. Around 8-10mpg there alone, depending on tire your are comparing. Air them to around 50psi.

Not sure what speed mix was used to determine the EPA numbers for the car, but those who report mpg in the 70mpg+ range are probably doing in mostly on the highway with a lot of it at 55mph.

I think the first two improvement will get you up to the EPA number. The Insight responds well to specialized driving techniques and you can find lots of that by using the google search bar in top left of page. If you just want to drive it without effort, then don't expect to do better than EPA, maybe not quite as good if you are impatient with learning the techniques.

If you are still unhappy with the Insight, then sell it. You have a low mileage car and if it is in good cosmetic condition it should bring 5-8K depending on buyer.
 

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Thanks for the feedback, Here are answers to most of the questions:

Your posts title is a bit cryptic, but I'm thinking you are asking about how to improve the (relatively) low MPG of your car vs. asking for advice on whether to get rid of it because it's not worth the sacrifices?
- What kind of tires are on the car?
- Tire pressure?
- Is it a 5 speed or CVT?
- How many miles are on the car?

Both, actually. Would like to get much better mileage and, if not able to do that, I would be ready to sell it.

Bridgestone Insignia SE 200s P175/65-14
80 psi, I think
5 spd
43k

I assume that you have been running the A/C during the Georgia summer.

Absolutely, all the time, but it's kind of a crappy AC compared to my other cars, so when it's > 95F I don't drive it.

Do you get a lot of 4 bar mandatory charge?

Not sure what that is, but I will be driving to work or home, 25 mi one-way trip, and it will often cycle over the full range, in my case high = 19 low = 1, usually at least every other day.

I've never seen so many IMA batteries installed in such a short period.

The gentleman I got the car from drove only city driving sn the car sat alot, hence the low mileage. There is a note from the dealer (always service there) after last battery replacement that says, in effect, "This car is not being driven enough to keep the batteries charged and we won't warranty the battery pack."

I would check to see if the brakes are dragging.

No sounds or evidence of dragging, but I'll check (I turn my own wrenches).

...might be to do the IMA battery bypass and then try some new testing.There is a link somewhere around here with instructions for bypass. I'll see if I can find them.


Please do. I'd like to check it out

-install a Calpod switch and leave it on most of the time; the recals are causing your IMA battery to sink valuable HP into the IMA battery; if the IMA battery is shot, then it does a poor job converting electrical energy into chemical energy (i.e. it's inefficient).

Probably not shot, since it's so new, but I'm sure it needs recalibration.

-don't use your AC... I don't unless my wife is in the car.

Not an option. I refuse to sweat while I drive a car... unless I'm driving the 'Cuda! :grin:

-Inflate tires properly and use RE92 tires only
Not RE92's. Tires are for a 2nd Gen Insight, I think. Slightly wider and better ride. Some on here say tires impact mileage by ~ 10%. If true, that puts me at 46 mpg, which is still too low.

-Drive slower.

I can't. I really don't consider 65 mph on my commute driving fast. My GS300 Lexus has an EPA rating of 18 city 27 highway and I average about 21 mpg when I drive it, just like I want to be able drive the Insight, i.e. just drive it, no special attention, monitoring, turn off AC etc... this is what irks me: My Insight is so far off the EPA ratings it's a joke and so many with these cars report much better mileage and, especially, better LMPGs. This car was almost exclusively city driven by an old guy and his wife for 15 years and it had only 37 LMPG when I bought it. Up to 39 now.
Do you cycle your a/c while on econ or just leave it at a/c @ 60*? I know what you're talking about with weak a/c. Some of these Charlotte days were crazy. Atlanta is obviously worse. Next year I'll be getting some kind of window film for sure.

Other than high tire pressure (I'm at 65psi on RE92s), other eco mods? Mine are pretty weak. Minor weight reduction, rear wiper delete and power steering disabled. But in this week of gas shortages I've knocked down this while following traffic going 70-75mpg with my commute of five-seven stops.



Have you done the typical egr cleaning and valve clearance check? Ever get a check engine light and some surging that maybe goes away?
 

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Absolutely, all the time, but it's kind of a crappy AC compared to my other cars, so when it's > 95F I don't drive it.
This statement bothers me. Most of us think the Insight has a pretty good AC. If yours is "crappy", then it might not be functioning correctly. Low on freon? If it is struggling to keep the car cool the compressor might be running more often than normal. This will make your "AC hit" even worse than normal. Have this checked and make sure you're getting the most out of your AC. Make sure there is no debris clogging the condenser.

Using the AC is a 10 MPG hit. You probably press the AUTO button and crank the temp all the way to cold. You can do a lot better by using the ECON button and toggling it when you can. Use AC Off when you're going uphill. Then use AC On when you go downhill. Crank the temp knob up some. You can keep the car comfortable this way and gain a few MPG.

As Jim said, your tires are killing you. Wrong size, heavy, and not LRR. Another 10 MPG hit.

If you are consistently running your battery through the full range, something is wrong. Either the battery has lost most of it's capacity or you are pushing it too hard. Try to stay out of Assist. Try downshifting when you see that you are in Assist. There is no free lunch. When you use Assist you have to Regen by burning more gas. It sounds like you're probably doing this. Another big MPG hit. You should never see Assist at highway speeds.

The Insight works by having a lot of small factors that add up to great MPG. You are taking away many of them, all of them big. You start by making the car work harder by having to turn the wrong tires. Then you make it worse by running the AC full blast. This makes the car use the battery more than it should and having to charge too much. Instead of having factors that add up to good MPG, you are creating several factors that add up to low MPG. If you work on all of these, even a little, your MPG will improve.

We haven't even touched on Lean Burn. I doubt if you ever see it. Fixing some of the above might give you some. This is the Holy Grail of Insight MPG and the answer to the very high MPG that some of us see.

Sam
 

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When parked, leave both windows down about a 1/2 in. Let it not be an oven.
RAIN? Buy a set of vent-shades. Those allow you to run even in the rain with the windows down about an inch.
My LMPG is at 58.2, always over 60+ per tank, and I run probably harder than you do.

Visit another INSIGHT owner and see how they drive.
Train yourself for decent mpg before you totally blame the car.

HTH
Willie
 

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I do want to mention, your FCD is inaccurate and UNDERESTIMATING your mpg right now because you have bigger tires than expected. You can add I think about 1.5%-2% to whatever your fuel economy is because the car is underestimating your speed and distance traveled.

You've got some negatives:
- Wrong Tires
- Bad IMA
- AC

You've also got some positives:
- Good spark plugs
- Clean EGR plate
- Warm weather

I think that even with those negatives, with some simple changes to how you drive you should be able to get into the low 60's.

Also, I've been living in Roswell for a while, I can meet up with you some time if you want. My car was in the 40's also when I bought it, but I've done lots of work and changed how I drive and now I'm occasionally getting in the 70's over an entire tank.

http://ecomodder.com/forum/em-fuel-log.php?vehicleid=9582

My fuel log only goes back like 4 months, but when I got my car I was only getting 5.0/l100km which works out to 47mpg. There's lots of high ones at the end, but I want to point out that it's not until the August 26 fill that I had RE92s -- I had 3 good tanks before that. Also, the June 15 fill is 65 mpg, and that's with the wrong tires and a bad IMA. My first trip with a decent IMA is the July 6 fill. I think my log shows that a car with the same faults as yours should be able to do better, and I'm hopeful we can get you there.
 

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Hi The fuel economy is affected by a lot of factors, but in your case would say it is because of most probably three .

1. Driving with 70 mph vs 55 mph - you lose about 7-10 mph there
2. Driving with the a/c on - this car ets affected a lot by the a/c you lose 10-15 mpg there
3. Driving with imbalanced IMA- 1-2 recals daily - most probably loosing 7-15 mpg there

Suggest you get a grid charger and charge once a month or once every two months for 12-15 hrs

also suggest the following test which works for me when deciding if the car is comparatively ok.

Drive on the highway in a dry, warm day ( during the day as lights rob a couple of miles two ) for at least 30-50 miles with 45-55 miles , no hard accelerations and or braking , open window(s) no a/c at all. If your car is in good shape you should get 75-90 mpg and you should see mostly during the whole time lean burn with 100-125 mpg on the instantaneous mpg bar.
if not one or more of the following is in play:
- under inflated tires ( anything less than 45 psi) or wrong tires ( anything other thanre92)
- bad O2 or Laf sensor(s)
- bad EGR
- clogged EGR plate ( very possible if you have not cleaned it)
- imbalanced battery (constantly charging) (which you have already)
- bad , constantly charging 12v battery
- any other problems which i cannot remember right now, or even may do not know about.

Anyway i hear you , these cars can bring 70 - 80 mpg easily,
but we have to make sacrifices , slow driving , no a/c , constant watching of the mpg gauge...

I did that for several years, now just driving 70-75mph, no worrries , I still get 55-60 mpg , but my a/c is broke for while , and cannot use it...


-
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Here are more responses to your comments, which, btw, are helpful and much appreciated!

Second, no tire performs on an Insight like the Bridgestone RE-92.

Seems like this is something that I need to do. I know some on here who run a tire similar to mine for a smoother ride and noise reduction. I find it hard to believe that a tire only slightly different from stock can give a 10 mpg hit, but maybe so. I will, however, point out that the car was city driven, which I believe it was designed primarily for, most of it's life and the original tires were changed at 30k mi (this is why I've been reluctant to change them... they're basically brand new). The LMPG was 37 when I bought it. The bulk of that mileage was on the original RE-92 tires, in town, mostly low speeds.

Insight responds well to specialized driving techniques

I was told about these on a previous post and implemented them. I got it up to 51 mpg (in the winter w/o AC), but it's just too damn tedious. Honda/EPA didn't say 60 mpg, but only if you drive with the AC off, slower than the posted speed/flow of traffic and holding your mouth just right

If you are still unhappy with the Insight, then sell it.

I may, but I'm hesitant since, if I do, gas will surely go up to > $4/gal!

Suggest you get a grid charger and charge once a month or once every two months for 12-15 hrs

Looking at those now, but not gonna spend $800 for a Revolt, so if anyone has a suggestion for one more reasonably priced, I'm all ears. I can make a discharger.

If your car is in good shape you should get 75-90 mpg and you should see mostly during the whole time lean burn with 100-125 mpg on the instantaneous mpg bar.

Lean burn is rare, and when I was trying I couldn't hold it no matter how hard I tried to feather the throttle, unless I wanted to end up doing 35 mph in a 65 mph zone.


if not one or more of the following is in play:
- under inflated tires ( anything less than 45 psi) or wrong tires ( anything other thanre92)
check
- bad O2 or Laf sensor(s)
No codes
- bad EGR
No codes
- clogged EGR plate ( very possible if you have not cleaned it)
Have not checked this, but I will.
- imbalanced battery (constantly charging) (which you have already)
Yup!
- bad , constantly charging 12v battery
Nope, < 1 year, replaced by PO
- any other problems which i cannot remember right now, or even may do not know about.
That might be the one!

I do want to mention, your FCD is inaccurate and UNDERESTIMATING your mpg right now because you have bigger tires than expected. You can add I think about 1.5%-2% to whatever your fuel economy is because the car is underestimating your speed and distance traveled.

How so? I believe speedometer/odometer reading would be determined based on the diameter of the rim/tire diameter, which has not changed. So speed and distance should still be accurate.


My car was in the 40's also when I bought it, but I've done lots of work and changed how I drive and now I'm occasionally getting in the 70's over an entire tank.

Would like to talk and see what you've done. Is it a manual?

When parked, leave both windows down about a 1/2 in. Let it not be an oven.

It is a veritable automotive greenhouse. I leave them down 1/3.

My LMPG is at 58.2, always over 60+ per tank, and I run probably harder than you do.

Maybe, but I doubt it.

Visit another INSIGHT owner and see how they drive.

I have, but he has a CVT, so maybe not comparable.

Train yourself for decent mpg before you totally blame the car.

I've tried. I just think that either Honda and the EPA overrated this car, or there is a large large amount of variability among individual cars and perhaps mine is on the lower end of the mpg spectrum.

Come to the South East when it's summer and your car is outside all day without a garage, then you have to work nights.

:thumbup: What he said

The Insight works by having a lot of small factors that add up to great MPG. You are taking away many of them, all of them big. You start by making the car work harder by having to turn the wrong tires. Then you make it worse by running the AC full blast. This makes the car use the battery more than it should and having to charge too much. Instead of having factors that add up to good MPG, you are creating several factors that add up to low MPG. If you work on all of these, even a little, your MPG will improve.

I have, and it did, but I've never reached what others say this car is easily capable of. I've owned A LOT of cars, and the newer cars I've owned get pretty close to EPA ratings (which are manufacturer generated). My Insight isn't even close. And if you have to run the car with little or no AC to get there, then it shouldn't have even been included as an option. We had 88 days over 90 F in Georgia this summer. Having the AC motor/AC compressor stop at stoplights just isn't an option for me.

We haven't even touched on Lean Burn. I doubt if you ever see it. Fixing some of the above might give you some. This is the Holy Grail of Insight MPG and the answer to the very high MPG that some of us see.

Tried to get in lean burn when I first got the car. Couldn't keep it there consistently. However, not really interested in being a hypermiler, but would like to see better than 41-42 mpg with what I consider to be normal driving habits.
 

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Your tire diameter has changed... OEM diameter is 22.4 inches, tires in a 175/65/r14 are 23 inches in diameter which translates to a 2.7% difference in your reported speedometer, odometer, and MPG readout. Your tire is also 16 lbs, 3 lbs heavier than the RE92 in a 165/65/R14. It's a significant difference when 3 extra pounds are placed further out from the axis point. Your acceleration should also be noticeably worse than stock, but with better handling and ride comfort.

Also, EPA gas mileage testing prior to 2008 included no use of the air conditioner. It's supposed to be part of the equation now along with a lot of other changes. Original estimate for our car was 61 city, 70 hwy. Current estimate is 49 city, 61 hwy.

I agree that you should try bypassing use of the IMA battery, at least temporarily, to eliminate it as an additional load.

As for the A/C, I wouldn't consider the Insight's weak compared to the other cars I've owned, I would say it's about average. Maybe there is something wrong with your A/C. Really it's hard to tell since, under hot conditions, even a correctly working A/C on our cars can be a very significant extra load... our engine is just that small. Here's a quote from fueleconomy.gov about use of A/C in general, "Operating the air conditioner on "Max" can reduce MPG by roughly 5%–25% compared to not using it".
 

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Take Natalia up on her offer to meet up. Maybe you and she can exchange the tires for a short test so you can be convinced of the huge difference the RE92 makes. At this point, it's either accept the RE92, with it's inherent disadvantages, or quit complaining about fuel economy. No other choices. You have been told so many times, it is a waste of breath to do so again;)

Oh yeah, now that it is getting cooler, try some testing with and without A/C. You will see the huge difference yourself. As has already been said several times, lean burn is one major key to high mpg. Unless you can sustain LB most of the time, then you aren't going to get good mpg.

If the IMA battery is defunct, and you have done nothing to bypass it, then you are getting lots of charging (Regeneration) just to try to keep the battery in balance. That is a killer of fuel economy.

The EPA numbers are what an "ordinary" driver should get without any particular effort. I don't know the details of the EPA test cycles, but pretty sure they can be found over on CleanMPG.com. This site:
https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/PowerSearch.do?action=noform&path=1&year1=2000&year2=2002&make=Honda&model=Insight&srchtyp=ymm

shows, 49mpg city, 61mpg highway and 53mpg combined. Unless you pick up a few specialized techniques, that would be your goal. If you have the right tires, and a good battery, you should be able to meet these numbers. To do better, as some do, you have to practice technique.

I guess I'm done with this. More than ample information has been provided by me and others. Near as I can tell, you have yet to do any actual testing. This isn't an issue that will get resolved by discussion. Only actual changes and testing on your part are going to make a real difference;)
 

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+1 on Natalia's offer. She is very knowledgeable on these cars and she can give you a very good evaluation.

Note to Natalia: Plug in your OBDIIC&C gauge so you can see the background charge and SOC.

I would like to see you swap cars and drive your route together. I predict that she will beat your average in your car and you will be lower than hers in her car. Swapping the tires would be really good, but a lot of work.

Here's the point, and what I've done in the four Insights I have had. Do things right and prove that your car is capable of getting the mileage it is supposed to. Then drive it like you want to, accepting that you are hurting your mileage. Then don't complain about the mileage, knowing that you're bringing it on yourself. When I get "bad" mileage (but always better than the EPA number) I know that it would have been better if I had not used the AC, gone slower, etc. I am consciously spending money on gas for the convenience of being cooler or getting someplace sooner, just as I do when I spend money for the joy of a nice juicy steak instead of a fast food hamburger. My choice and not the car's fault.

Also, be fair to yourself and devise a correction factor for the bigger tires. Apply this when you calculate your mileage to compensate for the distance you traveled that the car doesn't know about.

Sam
 
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